Gunn intramuscular stimulation (IMS), also called dry needling, is a global assessment and treatment approach for chronic myofascial pain syndromes. At Global Physiotherapy, we use IMS as another tool to resolve multiple sites of pain and poor movement patterns. Our practitioners identify patterns of tight muscles caused by nerves that are not functioning well. You will receive a full posture exam with movement and nerve tests for many areas of the body. The goal is to determine local and distant contributors to your pain pattern.
Neuropathic pain occurs when there is poor nerve communication to the spine and tissues. It leads to increased sensitivity in the nerves of the muscles, skin, and soft tissues. In addition, neuropathic pain is associated with abnormal nerve output at the corresponding level of the spine.
What Are the Symptoms of Neuropathic Pain?
- Pain without continued tissue damage
- Delay in feeling pain after an injury
- A burning sensation, a deep ache, or brief shooting pain
- Mild stimulation causing severe pain
- Decreased mobility due to muscle shortening
The nerves that control automatic functions in the body can also show signs of poor function. This can include changes in sweating, circulation, skin condition, and body hair. You may notice that a certain area of your body is colder than the rest or has goosebumps.
How Does Gunn Intramuscular Stimulation Work?
We insert acupuncture needles into the target tight muscles to release muscle shortening. You will be asked to report if you feel an ache or muscle contraction when we insert the needle. We may change the position of the needle to achieve the therapeutic effect before we move on to treating the next spinal level or muscle.
IMS therapy also targets the source of irritation at the spine and promotes healing. Needling causes local inflammation that releases chemicals like growth factors that contribute to healing. This helps you achieve long-term pain relief.
How Do I Know If IMS Will Help Me?
To benefit from IMS therapy, you should have been experiencing pain for more than three months or the pain should have been coming and going repeatedly. Pain should not be severe but rather persistent. We will also assess if you have muscle tightness in the spine by looking for subtle signs of nerve dysfunction. This will help us determine whether IMS therapy could help you.
How Will I Feel During and After Gunn IMS?
Edmonton patients report experiencing varying degrees of aches or contractions of the tight muscles being treated. Our practitioners may use Regenerative Photon Therapy or moist heat to help soothe the initial tenderness after treatment. However, it is common to be sore in the treated area for one to two days. Using heat at home can be helpful. Although you may be sore, you will notice less nerve irritation and greater flexibility.
The number of areas that require treatment and the duration of the muscle shortening will affect the number of treatments necessary to achieve your goals.
Will I Need Other Treatments in Addition to IMS Therapy?
Sherwood Park and area clients are recommended to visit our clinic periodically. This will allow us to monitor your progress. You may require other treatments to achieve myofascial balance and to gain optimal movement patterns. This will help you stay pain-free for longer.
- Our assessment and treatment approach addresses the connection between the spinal nerve and the muscles in your neck, back, legs, and arms.
- IMS therapy is an effective treatment for chronic or recurring pain.
- We insert acupuncture needles into tight muscle bands to create a chemical and electrical change. This improves muscle length and function.
- Regular length muscles allow for normal nerve input to the spine.
- Initial IMS treatments target the spinal muscles at the levels where the nerves exit and head to the tight muscles in the legs and arms.
- Although pain may be in one area, such as the lower back, Gunn IMS will also assess the neck and upper and lower quadrants of the body.
- Shortened muscles with tight bands respond well to Gunn IMS therapy.
- Our goal is to help you achieve the activity level you desire with muscles that function with less pain.
If you have questions about IMS and how it might be of benefit to you, please contact us.